If anyone asked me, I’d have to tell them that I still miss working in the Newspaper Industry. Everything from the smell of the presses (I started my career in production) all the way through the hectic deadlines and minimal resources. People that work at Newspapers are simply special people… it’s a business where corporations are slowly torturing and killing off its young.
Despite deadlines, circulation losses, manpower cuts, re-organizations, and getting your company sold out from under you, the people persist. The journalists are excitable, trustworthy, and passionate about changing lives through their words. I think that ownership of newspapers where the corporation lives outside of the newspaper’s region has had one of the largest debilitating effects on the industry. Everything from syndicated news to the loss of newspaper carriers has made it an impersonal business.
Try as they might, the leaders in the industry just can’t seem to pull humpty dumpty back together again. It’s an industry that I believe is doomed to failure. Accelerating their demise is their ongoing requirement for greater and greater profitability – this is stealing the investments that could help newspapers survive tomorrow through investments in online and regional opportunities.
Many of my good friends are still in the business and I can see that it’s starting to wear on them. Long hours, more layoffs, sacrifices in quality, and no rewards.
I’m not sure what could possibly be injected into the industry to make it work. The ‘powers that be’ will not relinquish control over the business nor the politics that has infected it. The problem is that they will walk away with a nice nest egg when their ship goes down. The lives most affected will be the people who lose their jobs and us, the citizens who need journalists to dig for the truth.
If you ever have the opportunity to hire someone with Newspaper experience, either IT, Marketing, Journalist, or even an Electrician… I would highly recommend them. Newspaper Men and Women are resourceful, selfless, and hard workers that will never let you down. It’s sad to see the industry self-destructing like this.